Going to Meet the Man

( 7 )

Overview

"There's no way not to suffer. But you try all kinds of ways to keep from drowning in it." The men and women in these eight short fictions grasp this truth on an elemental level, and their stories, as told by James Baldwin, detail the ingenious and often desperate ways in which they try to keep their head above water. It may be the heroin that a down-and-out jazz pianist uses to face the terror of pouring his life into an inanimate instrument. It may be the brittle piety of a father who can never forgive his son for his illegitimacy. Or it may be ...

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Going to Meet the Man

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Overview

"There's no way not to suffer. But you try all kinds of ways to keep from drowning in it." The men and women in these eight short fictions grasp this truth on an elemental level, and their stories, as told by James Baldwin, detail the ingenious and often desperate ways in which they try to keep their head above water. It may be the heroin that a down-and-out jazz pianist uses to face the terror of pouring his life into an inanimate instrument. It may be the brittle piety of a father who can never forgive his son for his illegitimacy. Or it may be the screen of bigotry that a redneck deputy has raised to blunt the awful childhood memory of the day his parents took him to watch a black man being murdered by a gleeful mob.

By turns haunting, heartbreaking, and horrifying—and informed throughout by Baldwin's uncanny knowledge of the wounds racism has left in both its victims and its perpetrators—Going to Meet the Man is a major work by one of our most important writers.

A collection of eight short stories that explore with devastating frankness the roots of love, hate, and racial conflict. By turns haunting, heartbreaking, and horrifying, this is a major work by one of America's quintessential writers.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
As might be expected for this collection of short stories, Dion Graham's reading requires him to master an array of voices: hellfire-preaching ministers, deliciously profane Harlem locals, to kittenish women. Graham ranges from tremulous exertion to sudden flashes of rage, his reading flecked by an exhaustion that creeps in at the margins of Baldwin's prose. Baldwin's protagonists are weary of a world that allows them no respite from racism and hatred, and Graham echoes that weariness, his voice hushed and low, its register reflecting their struggle to survive. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Available for the first time on audio, Baldwin's 1965 short story collection is timeless in its treatment of youthful innocence, prejudice, addiction, loneliness, fear, and human suffering. "Rockpile" and "The Outing" will seem familiar to those acquainted with his first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain; the third story, "Man Child," features a very chilling ending that will catch them off guard. The four subsequent tales—"Previous Condition," "Sonny's Blues," "This Morning, This Evening, So Soon," and "Come Out the Wilderness"—return listeners to a more familiar world with elements of frustration, anger, loneliness, and the desire for love. But the most resonant story by far is the final, titular one, which contains graphic descriptions of a lynching and is a catalyst for strong emotions. Actor/Audie Award winner Dion Graham (see Behind the Mike, LJ 11/1/09) is masterly in his rending of the vast array of characters in these eight disparate tales. Highly recommended for all audiences.—Valerie Piechocki, Prince George's Cty. Memorial Lib., Largo, MD
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679761792
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/28/1995
  • Series: Vintage International Series
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 116,945
  • Product dimensions: 5.22 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

James Baldwin

James Baldwin (1924-1987) was educated in New York. He is the author of more than twenty works of fiction and nonfiction, including Go Tell It on the Mountain, Notes of a Native Son, Another Country, and Blues for Mister Charlie.

Biography

James Baldwin was born on August 2, 1924, and educated in New York. His first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain, appeared in 1953 to excellent reviews and immediately was recognized as establishing a profound and permanent new voice in American letters. "Mountain is the book I had to write if I was ever going to write anything else," he remarked. Baldwin's play The Amen Corner was first performed at Howard University in 1955 (it was staged commercially in the 1960s), and his acclaimed collection of essays Notes of a Native Son, was published the same year. A second collection of essays, Nobody Knows My Name, was published in 1961 between his novels Giovanni's Room (1956) and Another Country (1961).

The appearance of The Fire Next Time in 1963, just as the civil rights movement was exploding across the American South, galvanized the nation and continues to reverberate as perhaps the most prophetic and defining statement ever written of the continuing costs of Americans' refusal to face their own history. It became a national bestseller, and Baldwin was featured on the cover of Time magazine. Critic Irving Howe said that The Fire Next Time achieved "heights of passionate exhortation unmatched in modern American writing." In 1964 Blues for Mister Charlie, his play based on the murder of a young black man in Mississippi, was produced by the Actors Studio in New York. That same year, Baldwin was made a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters and collaborated with the photographer Richard Avedon on Nothing Personal, a series of portraits of America intended as a eulogy for the slain Medger Evers. A collection of short stories, Going to Meet the Man, was published in 1965, and in 1968, Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone, his last novel of the 1960s appeared.

In the 1970s he wrote two more collections of essays and cultural criticism: No Name in the Street (1972) and The Devil Finds Work (1976). He produced two novels: the bestselling If Beale Street Could Talk (1974) and Just Above My Head (1979) and also a children's book Little Man, Little Man: A Story of Childhood (1976). He collaborated with Margaret Mead on A Rap on Race (1971) and with the poet-activist Nikki Giovanni on A Dialogue (1973). He also adapted Alex Haley's The Autobiography of Malcolm X into One Day When I Was Lost.

In the remaining years of his life, Baldwin produced a volume of poetry, Jimmy's Blues (1983), and a final collection of essays, The Price of the Ticket. Baldwin's last work, The Evidence of Things Not Seen (1985), was prompted by a series of child murders in Atlanta. Baldwin was made a Commander of the French Legion of Honor in June 1986. Among the other awards he received are a Eugene F. Saxon Memorial Trust Award, a Rosenwald fellowship, a Guggenheim fellowship, a Partisan Review fellowship, and a Ford Foundation grant.

James Baldwin died at his home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence in France on December 1, 1987.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

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    1. Also Known As:
      James Arthur Baldwin (full name)
      James Baldwin
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 2, 1924
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Death:
      December 1, 1987
    2. Place of Death:
      St. Paul de Vence, France

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Classic

    I'll keep this short, Mr. Baldwin has crafted an American masterpeice that should be required reading for any English major.

    Six out of the eight stories are some of the finest samples of writing that you're ever going to come across. "Sonny's Blues" is poignant and authentic from the tragic start to the unforgettable ending. "Manchild" is simple and yet haunting.

    For anyone that considers themselves to be a fan of literature: read this book!

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  • Posted November 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Intense

    Amazing. Touching, yet brutal. These short stories explore the hurt and suffering we endure ourselves, and inflict onto fellow man. Intense.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2003

    MASTERPIECE!!!!!

    I ACQUIRED THE BOOK IN 1988 THROUGH A SUCCESSION OF OWNERS WHO HAD NO IDEA WHAT A RARE JEWEL THEY HAD IN THEIR COLLECTION. INSIDE THE FRONT PAGE IS A DEDICATION. THE DEDICATION READS AS FOLLOWS : "TO DAD WITH LOVE AND GRATITUDE FOR A FOUNDATION OF FREE THINKING AND THE RIGHT TO DISAGREE EVEN WITH YOU." LOVE, MAEVA AND PETER DATED CHRISTMAS 1965. THERE ARE NO WORDS THAT CAN ACCURATELY CONVEY MY FEELINGS FOR THE COLLECTION OF STORIES! I WOULD URGE ANYONE THAT IS A TRUE BELIEVER AND LOVER OF TRUE LITERATURE TO READ THIS TITLE AS WELL AS THE REST OF BALDWIN'S WORK.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2001

    Powerful

    This is a collection of 8 well-written and gripping short stories that deal with love, hate, fear, prejudice and the suffering of the human condition. Some of the highlights include the stories 'Sonny's Blues', 'Previous Condition' and the chilling title story, 'Going to Meet the Man'. James Baldwin writes these stories with honesty and intensity. Be sure to read James Baldwin's other works too. He's really a very insightful and prolific writer.

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    Posted April 6, 2009

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    Posted October 27, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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